Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 17th, 2019

Democracy Ensures Minority Rights

Democracy government system requires holding free and fair elections, establishing functioning political parties, entrenching and independent judiciary. These key challenges in the sphere of in Institutional design and development are very readily identified and well understood. 
However, there is another critical challenge that mostly has less been appreciated: It is, promoting and developing democratic values and principles within a society; in other words to ensure democratic culture in a given society in order to shape and direct the interactions of the people within a democratic framework. Doing so, we ensure putting the institutional architecture of democracy in place. Having a strong foundation of shared and applied democratic values and principles in the society enables the whole society to have a consistent, unified and stable political structure.
Adherence to theory and practice in democratic processes and ensuring the fundamental principles of equity, justice and inclusion, form the core of inclusion of women, men, young, old, able-bodied and disabled alike. It is a tough challenge on the way of democracy that any government system which claims to be democratic should address it properly and if not so, may reveal significant shortcomings. The challenges of ensuring genuine equity, justice and inclusivity, however, are critical to the long-term sustainability of the democratization project in Afghanistan. According to the social scholars, focusing on a key dimension of the tasks of promoting an equitable, just and inclusive democratic ethos and of fashioning institutions and practices intended to entrench it -namely the protection and promotion of minority rights, is the prerequisite to success of democratization in a multi ethnic country like Afghanistan.
These two tasks are practiced in many diverse methods according to the historical, political, social, cultural and judicial environment of the countries and regions concerned. Of course, one should not expect if one method succeeds in a given society it would succeed in their given society as well. However, it is the duty of the governments to localize the successful approaches given the real grounds of their society.
The Minority Rights landscape in Afghanistan
The importance of minority rights in Afghanistan is clear to nearly everyone. Ensuring these rights in terms of continuing democratic progress in the country has been vividly illustrated by sporadic of inter-ethnic violence between different ethnic groups in the past in Afghanistan. As history is like a mirror to reflect our good and bad lessons of the past in order to shed light on our future, it is important to recall that whenever governments have managed diversity within their societies, they could have successfully managed their ethnic expectations and have successfully managed their ethnic tensions if they have been incited by any reasons.
The experience of countries like Indonesia and India has many lessons for Afghanistan. Indonesia and India could have addressed the multiple challenges of protecting and giving fair political representation to their minority populations. Such experience, provides a wide range of alternative approaches and policies based on inclusive, accommodating approaches to the Afghan government. In these countries, important legal safeguards of minority rights are in place and their constitutions human related provisions are generally judged to be quite rich. As a result, they have been able to establish and maintain a shared sense of national identity and most of their citizens remain justly proud to them. Indeed, there are growing challenges in these countries and how to maintain such sense of a shared identity in the new, more volatile democratic ear is a question that clearly continues to exercises the minds of many, but as they have shown in the past, they would be able to control such challenges by ensuring the rights of different social groups of their countries successfully and their national identity would act as a guarantee to help them go through the coming challenges as a natural part of democratization process.
The ethnic conflict experience in Afghanistan show that ensuring the rights of different ethnic, religious, gender and other groups is the most successful and les costing approach to manage such conflicts. Democracy as system of government has proven that it has the potentials and capacity to well manage the ethnic, religious, gender diversities and can provide the viable approaches to enable a wide range of different groups to come to a common understanding in order to form a shared national identity in a given society. In Afghanistan, we have the same opportunity to put in place democratic values and principles indiscriminately in order to form a national identity and overcome the long run conflicts in our country by ensuring the rights of different groups in the Afghan society.